Louis van Gaal admits Manchester United took a leaf out of FC Midtjylland’s book in the 3-0 victory at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup fifth round.
First-half strikes from Chris Smalling and Juan Mata, followed by Jesse Lingard’s goal after the break, eased some of the pressure on the under-fire Old Trafford boss and secured a home quarter-final against West Ham.
When asked if he was feeling better than he did before the match, the Dutchman told BT Sport: “No, I’m satisfied, that’s different. I was also feeling well before the match. It’s a matter of profession.”
Mata’s free-kick was the major talking point after three United players stood in an offside position, blocking the view of Shrews keeper Jayson Leutwiler.
Van Gaal admitted he had learned the trick from Europa League opponents Midtjylland, who they face again on Thursday needing to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit.
“We have learned because we analysed Midtjylland and saw that they are doing that. We think it’s always offside, but we asked the referees at that time and they are saying not offside, you can do that.
“So we learned the taking of the free-kick from Midtjylland and today we scored. That’s good.”
— Man United In Pidgin (@ManUtdInPidgin) February 22, 2016
Shrewsbury manager Micky Mellon insisted he had not seen the controversial second goal, which came in first-half stoppage time and left his side with a mountain to climb.
“First and foremost the quality of Manchester United was fantastic,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked any more of the players.
“I haven’t seen any of the goals back. But we’ve got to come away and say we’ve had a fantastic cup run. We gave it everything. The players can hold their heads high.”